Tony Smith was born in 1912, in South Orange, New Jersey. As a child he suffered from tuberculosis, and to prevent the disease from spreading to his six siblings, he was quarantined in a one-room structure behind his parent’s house and was cared for by a private nurse. He spent time there building models from small medicine boxes.
During the Depression, Smith attended college briefly, but returned home to help run the family’s tool and die manufacturing business. He also took painting and drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York, and in 1937, moved to Chicago to study architecture. Soon, he became an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. Smith supported himself as an architect for more than twenty years.
After a car wreck in 1961 left him with a blood disease that kept him from driving to building sites, Smith gave up architecture, and began teaching design at several colleges in New York.
Smith’s first solo exhibition took place in 1966 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. His work can be seen at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.;
Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Washington; the Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo, the Netherlands; and the Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art in Shizuoka, Japan. Smith passed away in 1980.
The process of arranging and combining geometric forms is at the core of Tony Smith’s sculpture. The artist often began working on a new sculpture by rearranging elements used in previous works. Night was based on a slightly earlier work called Free Ride. The inspiration for Free Ride came to the artist as he was placing three aspirin boxes on a table in different arrangements. Struck by one arrangement, the artist decided to make a sculpture based on that design, and Night followed shortly after.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
ABOUT THE SCULPTURE
144″ x 144″ x 192″
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Scarecrow, 2006 Tom Claassen
Untitled (Two Rabbits), 2004 Jonathan Clarke
Lifestyle, 2006 Niki de Saint Phalle
Adam & Eve, 1985-1989 Jim Dine
Big White Gloves, Big Four Wheels, 2008 Mark di Suvero
Aesop’s Fables, 1990 Jean-Michel Folon
Voyage, 1999 Laura Ford
Bird, 2007 Keith Haring
Untitled (Ringed Figure), 1987 Käi
Love Vs. Money, 2017 Fernand Léger
Femmes Au Perroquet, 1952 Aristide Maillol
La Riviere, 1938 – 1943 Ju Ming
Tai Chi Singlewhip, 1998 Igor Mitoraj
Eros Bendato, 1999 Julian Opie
Kiera & Julian Walking, 2002
Bruce & Sara Walking, 2007 Tom Otterness
Kindly Geppetto, 2001 Mimmo Paladino
Zenit, 1999 Martin Puryear
Untitled (Bench), 2008 George Rickey
Four Rectangles Oblique, 1979 Tony Smith
Night, 1962 Bernar Venet
2 Arcs X 4, 230.5 Degree, Arc X 5, 1999-2000 Erwin Wurm
Big Suit, 2010 Kan Yasuda
Door of Return, 2001 Jack Youngerman